As I was trawling for links related to my review of Matmos‘ The Civil War, I came across a great page with track-by-track notes on the album - where inspirations came from, how the duo created some of the sounds on the record. A couple of the most interesting bits; first this one regarding “The Struggle Against Unreality Begins” (and answering a question I posed in my review):
This song began when our friend Keenan Lawler sent us a recording he had made of himself playing a steel guitar in a sewer pipe underneath Louisville, Kentucky. We liked the idea of “sound in a tube” so we paired Keenan’s noises with the sound of blood in Martin’s carotid artery. To gather that sound we borrowed an ultrasonic doppler flow detector from the Exploratorium, rubbed conductive jelly on Martin’s neck and then angled the flow detector against his skin, picking up the blood flow as interference which sounded rather like a 70’s modular synth.
And this, about “Y.T.T.E.”, one of the centerpieces of the album -
The freaky guitar solo was made through an elaborately layered process: Mark Lightcap played a screaming psychedelic distorted guitar line through a rack of pedals and wahs and whammies, which was then burned as a soundfile on a CD, which was then physically scratched; the resulting skipping CD was recorded and then further chopped up in SoundEdit16 and then re-edited and manipulated in Digital Performer.